Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Peter Mayshle’s flash fiction piece, “Engkanto,” was recently published in the new anthology, Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World released by WW Norton and Co. in April 2015.
Flash Fiction International is a collection of 86 of the “most beautiful, provocative, and moving” narratives by authors from six continents. Flash fiction is a short form of storytelling, which typically does not exceed 750 words and can be as short as 75 words. The pieces of flash fiction featured in the Anthology range from linear narratives to more unusual works, such as a paragraph-length novel, stories based on mathematical forms, and a scientific report on volcanic fireflies that proliferate nightclubs.
“‘Engkanto’ is a flash fiction about a transgression committed on a young woman, her response to it, and the subsequent change this experience has had on her perception of herself, and her relationship with her mother,” Mayshle explains. “It was a difficult story to write, particularly because of the point of view, plus it was hard for me to get the voice right. But once I hit upon the idea of writing in one long, continuous sentence, I knew I could finally write the narrative that needed to be written.”
The Anthology, which is edited by James Thomas, Robert Shapard, and Christopher Merrill, also includes works from best-selling writer Etgar Keret, Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah, Korean Screenwriter Kim Young-ha, Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, and Argentinian “Queen of the Microstory” Ana Maria Shua, among others.
Mayshle’s story was one of just 86 pieces selected out of the 10,000 stories read by the editors. Mayshle says that his story first appeared in the UK literary journal, “Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine,” over a year prior to being published in Flash Fiction International.
“Since I’ve long admired the earlier anthologies by the series’ editors, I thought I should send it in and hope for the best,” Mayshle says. “Months later, one of the editors contacted me telling me they decided to include it in the anthology. Knowing they only chose 86 stories, I’m finding it even more astonishing.”
Born and raised in the Philippines, Mayshle spent years working as a copywriter, eventually becoming creative director of his own boutique agency in Manila. He then went on to earn his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His stories have been published in his home country, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Myashle joined HWS in 2014, and has since taught a variety of courses in the Writing and Rhetoric Department. This fall, Mayshle will be teaching WRRH 315: The Rhetoric of Memory, which combines his interests in spatial rhetoric and public memory.